What Fitzgibbon and Dutton said today is "news" because the ALP, LNP and Australian media want the incarceration, torture and refoulement of refugees to continue - and the rest of us, don't.
Concerns Pacific neighbour Nauru is moving towards a dictatorship [TVNZ - 28/6/15]:
A Wellington family has been forcibly separated from its father and husband as concerns mount over democracy on the island of Nauru.
Growing tension and reports of restrictions on freedom have drawn the attention of the New Zealand Government.
The Wellington-based Kun family have been forcibly separated from their Nauru opposition MP dad, Roland Kun. When he boarded his plane to join them in New Zealand he was hauled off by Nauruan officials and had his passport cancelled.
"I was deemed a risk to the nation. And the other reason was there were criminal investigations with which I was directly linked," Mr Kun told ONE News in a telephone interview.
The criminal investigation relates to protests last week at Parliament. Three opposition MPs have been charged, two of them imprisoned, accused by the Government of trying to destabilise it. Mr Kun is under investigation, having been suspended from Parliament a year ago.
"We are concerned to hear that there have been steps taken that might impinge on the liberties of individuals, and particularly elected representatives," says Murray McCully, New Zealand Foreign Minister.
The arrests are the latest in what critics say are moves towards a dictatorship.
The Nauruan Government has suspended five opposition MPs, banned the use of Facebook, deported outspoken foreigners and introduced a law where threatening public order can result in up to seven years in jail.
[It also hosts an Australian concentration camp where refugees are tortured and abused before being exiled.]
"It's an attempt to try and stifle democracy in a way that is not good for the future of the country," says Dr Steven Ratuva of Canterbury University.
New Zealand gives $2 million a year towards Nauru's justice system and wants some answers over recent events. Mr McCully will be meeting with Nauru's president early next month, but it's also drawing international attention.
"It's serious enough for the Pacific Islands Forum to seriously look at what it can do," says Dr Ratuva.
The Nauru Government insists it is upholding law and order, looking after the best interests of its people.
But those on the receiving end, including the Kun family, are paying a harsh price.
Anyone seen any evidence of this? ------> ... The organization is pursuing dialogue with all relevant actors to foster regional cooperation rather than unilateral deterrence measures, and avoid people of concern being rejected at the border; to seek alternatives to the detention of asylum-seekers; and to discourage the development of restrictive asylum policies.
UNHCR will work to promote further public awareness of asylum and refugee protection issues in Australia and New Zealand, notably greater tolerance and understanding of the dynamics of forced population movements, including by sea. .... [2015 UNHCR subregional operations profile - East Asia and the Pacific]
Creepy fascists -----> ... Sometimes the helicopters will be flying low over villages, but it will all be done very safely.”
The Mercy crew is scheduled to work in Arawa through July 3, when the ship and crew will move to their next port of call in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea.
Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.
While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions have provided medical care to about 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure developments to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.
Additional information on the Pacific Partnership mission is available on the U.S. Pacific Fleet Pacific Partnership website at www.cpf.navy.mil/pacific-partnership/2015/. [PNG Loop - 28/6/15]
The chief executive officer of PNG Air Services Limited, Captain Ted Pakii, and the Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Deborah Stokes, announced a major Australian commitment to improve aviation safety in PNG, at the PNG Air Services Limited–Airservices
Australia will support installation of the Global Navigational Satellite System (GNSS) at 31 airports and airstrips across PNG at a total estimated cost of K8.1 million. ... [PNG Loop - 27/6/15]
Manifest Destiny is a term for the attitude prevalent during the 19th century period of American expansion that the United States not only could, but was destined to, stretch from coast to coast.
This attitude helped fuel western settlement, Native American removal and war with Mexico.
The phrase was first employed by John L. O’Sullivan in an article on the annexation of Texas published in the July-August 1845 edition of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, which he edited.
The term manifest destiny originated in the 1840s. It expressed the belief that it was Anglo-Saxon Americans’ providential mission to expand their civilization and institutions across the breadth of North America. This expansion would involve not merely territorial aggrandizement but the progress of liberty and individual economic opportunity as well.
It was, O’Sullivan claimed, ‘our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.’ The term and the concept were taken up by those desiring to secure Oregon Territory, California, Mexican land in the Southwest, and, in the 1850s, Cuba.
Originally a partisan Democratic issue, ‘manifest destiny’ gained Republican adherents as time passed.
By the end of the century,
expansionists were employing quasi-Darwinist reasoning to argue that because its
‘Anglo-Saxon heritage’ made America supremely fit, it had become the nation’s
‘manifest destiny’ to extend its influence beyond its continental boundaries
into the Pacific and Caribbean basins.
Sydney streets blocked by protest against WA remote community closures
A protest against the closure of remote Aboriginal communities blocked streets in central Sydney on Sunday, as about 600 people marched against the Western Australian government’s plans to wind back support for communities it deems aren’t viable.
The protest began at Town Hall at 1pm on Sunday and moved toward The Block in Redfern, closing George, Lee, Regent and Lawson Streets on the way.
It’s the third national call to action and the sixth time protests have shut down an Australian capital city in protest against the plan to overhaul funding to the state’s 247 remote Aboriginal communities, which the premier, Colin Barnett, has said will result in “significantly fewer” homelands communities remaining open.
Barnett raised the prospect of remote community closures in November, saying that up to 150 communities faced “closure” after the Abbott government shifted responsibility for municipal services funding on to the state.
The funding shift will see direct federal funding cease from 1 July, but WA has been given an extra $90m – equivalent to three years funding under the old scheme.
At the same time, WA has developed its own “major reforms” for service delivery in remote Aboriginal communities, which is expected to lead to the closure, through withholding services from some communities, of a number of less populated communities over the next few years.
Details are scarce and the full model is yet to be worked out. Nominations for Aboriginal leaders to join the regional working groups intended to steer the reforms closed this month.
Protest organisers, rallied around the #SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA hashtag on social media, have been ramping up activities since Friday ahead of July 1 – the day federal funding to WA’s remote communities formally switches over to the state.
On Friday protesters shut down the Melbourne CBD for the third time, while protests also took place in Brisbane and Darwin.
However WA’s Aboriginal affairs minister, Peter Collier, recently told a budget estimates committee that the federal funding loss – which only comes to about $30m a year, of the total of about $5bn spent on Aboriginal affairs – wasn’t enough to make a difference to the viability of communities “in isolation”.
“That funding was simply minuscule in the big picture,” he said.
Coast to Coast: Australian police crack down on young people having parties (in certain localities)
Three people have been assaulted after confronting a group of young people who damaged their car after a nearby out-of-control party on the Gold Coast.
Police were called to Varsity Lakes about 9:30pm Saturday night after receiving a number of calls but when they arrived about 50 or 60 teenagers had dispersed.
"I was just laying in bed and the next thing I know there is just banging and smashing and kids running down the side of the road," one witness, who did not want to be named, said.
Shortly after the party broke up, some youth began damaging a car on a nearby street.
The home was also damaged when a motorcycle helmet was thrown through a window.
When the occupants of the house, a woman and two men, tried to confront the juveniles they were assaulted and taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The party house was also significantly damaged, but the owner is not making a complaint.
WA Today [28/6/15]:
Just 60 minutes turned a run-of-the-mill party into an out-of-control one at Ballajura on Saturday night with 50 people fighting in the street.
It was second time in as many nights that police had been called out to a party in the northern suburb.
Police arrived at the party on Birdland Lane around 9pm on Saturday and found party goers behaving well. The organiser was told to shut down the party at midnight.
An hour later police were called again following reports of people fighting in the street. Police including the dog squad dispersed the crowd and shut the party down.
Two adults were charged with disorderly behaviour. Eight juveniles were detained and handed over to a responsible adult.
Twenty four hours earlier, there had been a massive police response to an out-of-control party in Ballajura.
Nineteen police vehicles rushed to the scene following reports that young people had been drinking and acting in a disorderly manner in the street.
The party, at a community hall on Pelican Parade, had been advertised on Facebook and more than 400 people had replied saying they would be turning up.
Police detained 24 juveniles and released them to parents or other responsible adults.
The 16-year-old party organiser is being questioned by police.
Investigations have begun into the shooting death of a Rebels bikie member whose body was found in bushland north of Sydney.
Police said the body of 37-year-old Mark Easter, from Little Bay, was discovered next to the Pacific Highway at Cowan, near Berowa, on Friday morning.
A group of council workers made the grisly discovery and notified police. ... [Sydney Morning Herald - 28/6/15]
Yasmin pill risk: stroke victim joins class action against drug company Bayer [Canberra Times – 28/6/15]
Teenager critical after quad bike accident
A teenager is fighting for life in hospital after falling off a quad bike on a property northwest of Sydney.
The 15-year-old boy was airlifted from a home at Oakville with head and chest injuries on Sunday afternoon.
Medical staff performed surgery to drain his chest and placed him in an induced coma after landing in an emergency helicopter.
The teenager is now in The Children's Hospital at Westmead in a critical condition.
Attempted murder charge, Fortitude Valley
QPS Media [28/6/15]:
Detectives investigating an incident at a jewellery store in Fortitude Valley on Friday have charged a man.
Just before 4pm a man entered a jewellery store on Wickham Street where he allegedly punched and stabbed a 62-year-old male staff member.
The staff member received injuries to his chest, face and arm and was transported to the Royal Brisbane Hospital in a serious condition.
A 27-year-old Inala man has been charged with one count each of attempt to murder, enter premises with intent and armed robbery with violence.
He is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Man charged with weapon, drug offences, Darling Downs
A man is facing weapon and drug charges after a gun was fired into the sky during a heated argument in Queensland's Darling Downs.
The 21-year-old is accused of firing the weapon after demanding cash owed to him be repaid during a verbal stoush with two others on Saturday.
He's charged with weapon and drug offences and will appear in Toowoomba Magistrates Court on Monday.
Five people are facing weapons charges after Queensland police recovered an officer's handgun, four days after it dropped from his holster. … [Yahoo – 28/6/15]
Teenager dies after falling from stairwell railing in Queen Victoria
Nine MSN [28/6/15]:
A 13-year-old boy has died after he fell four storeys from inside the Queen Victoria Building in the Sydney CBD.
Witnesses said the boy was sliding along a stairwell railing on the Market Street side of the building when he lost his balance, slipped and fell just before 3pm.
He was rushed to Sydney Children’s Hospital in a critical condition, and died in hospital of severe head injuries.
Some witnesses said they believe he was playing with his little sister at the time.
Police escorted the ambulance out of the busy CBD and hundreds of shoppers were held back as police blocked off the area where he fell and established a crime scene.
... "The Rohingya are a dirty, thieving people who steal from the Burmese. They should be sent back where they came from," a local businessman says, using the familiar vocabulary of racial xenophobia heard everywhere. ...
Lost Myanmar Empire Is Stage for Modern Violence [National Geographic – 26/6/15]
UK: Protest planned in Dewsbury to highlight plight of Rohingyas [Yorkshire Standard – 27/6/15]:
Protesters plan on gathering outside Dewsbury Town Hall tomorrow to demand an end to persecution inflicted upon the Rohingya people.
Over 100 people are expected by organisers, who plan on highlighting the plight for the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim ethnic group living primarily in Rakhine State in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
They are not recognised as citizens by the ruling government and United Nations officials and human rights groups have reported evidence of severe human rights abuses inflicted upon them, including incitement of anti-Muslim violence.
One of the organisers of the protest, Rehan Kayani, said: “The protest is to show solidarity to the people of Burma getting killed as their fault is only because they are Muslim. Burma don’t allow any media there and no charity can go in Burma to support Muslims, so with these protests we can raise our voices.
“Local MPs should take this issue to Parliament and we want to make people aware, use social media and spread the word as the mainstram media isn’t doing anything.”
Guest speakers, local MPs and councillors are expected to attend.
The protest is scheduled to take place tomorrow outside Dewsbury Town Hall from 2.30pm.
Last week, a similar protest was held in Bradford.
Australia-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce [23/6/15]: A-MCC was a proud supporter of the recent Myanmar Hospitality & Tourism Conference in NPT, photos of the event available here: http://mhtc.sphereconferences.com/photo-gallery/gallery
The Myanmar Global Investment Forum, September 2015
India: Floods Kill 55 in Gujarat [Naharnet – 27/6/15]
About 200 people were injured after a fire suspected to have stemmed from the explosion of an unknown flammable powder occurred in a recreational park in northern Taiwan, local media reported on Saturday.
The fire broke out at the center of the stage when up to 1,000 people were having a color play party - a festival of dance and music where revelers are sprayed with clouds of colored powder.
Footage from TV stations showed flames reaching into the sky with some people running to escape. ... [Reuters - 27/6/15]
Cruise liner collides with tanker off Gallipoli [Hurriyet Daily News – 27/6/15]
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says a final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program is possible if the P5+1 group abides by its commitments and makes no “excessive demands.”
Speaking with reporters in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Saturday, Zarif said that the Iranian delegation has attended the latest round of nuclear talks with an aim to reach a deal that secures the interests and rights of the Iranian people and benefits the entire world. ... [Press TV - 27/6/15]
Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 3 in Northeast Nigeria [Yahoo - 27/6/15]
Bomb detonates killing two militants in northern Egypt [Ahram - 27/6/15]
... But Cameron and his neoconservative allies are preparing the ground for the government’s next onslaught. The target will not be terrorism, but “non-violent extremism”. Next month, from nursery schools to optometrists, health services to universities, all will be legally obliged to monitor students and patients for any sign of “extremism” or “radicalisation”.
The new powers represent a level of embedded security surveillance in public life unprecedented in peacetime. We already know from the government’s Prevent programme the chilling impact of such mass spying on schools, where Muslim pupils have been reported for speaking out in favour of Palestinian rights or against the role of British troops in Afghanistan.
But the “counter-extremism” bill announced in the Queen’s Speech is about to take the anti-Muslim clampdown a whole stage further. The plans include banning orders for non-violent individuals and organisations whose politics are considered unacceptable; physical restriction orders for non-violent individuals deemed “harmful”; powers to close mosques; and vetting controls on broadcasters accused of airing extremist material. It’s censorship under any other name.
That was the view of Sajid Javid, then culture secretary, in a leaked letter to the prime minister earlier this year. But Cameron shows every sign of pressing ahead with what amounts to a full-blown assault on basic liberties. Most ludicrously, the new powers are defended in the name of “British values”, including “individual liberty” and “mutual respect and tolerance”.
But as became clear in the aftermath of the murderous Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo earlier this year, we are not all Charlie when it comes to freedom of speech. Anti-extremism powers will be used overwhelmingly against Muslims, rather than, say, non-Muslim homophobes and racists who have little interest in mutual respect and tolerance. ... [Guardian - 25/6/15]
State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China publishes "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014" report [China.org.cn -26/6/15]
Battlefield Casualties: A Veterans for Peace UK film, directed by Price James, written by Darren Cullen, featuring Matt Berry
... Just yesterday two civilians were killed as Ali and his grandmother approached the school. This happened right in front of their eyes. His father emailed: “Ali couldn’t answer exam well as he saw the accident. Let us pray for his safety.” ... In Baghdad, Organised Destruction [ICH – 27/6/15]
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria
US Department of Defense [27/6/15]:
U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.
Airstrikes in Syria
Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 airstrikes in Syria:
-- Near Hasakah, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tank and an ISIL weapons cache.
-- Near Aleppo, an airstrike struck an ISIL assembly area.
-- Near Raqqah, five airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, destroying five ISIL excavators, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL remotely piloted aircraft.
-- Near Kobani, four airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL boats, an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Tal Abyad, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying an ISIL vehicle.
Airstrikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:
-- Near Baghdadi, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL excavator.
-- Near Huwayjah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, destroying two ISIL buildings, an ISIL cache, an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Beiji, an airstrike struck an ISIL vehicle.
-- Near Habbaniyah, an airstrike destroyed an ISIL mortar tube.
-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL heavy machine gun firing position, destroying an ISIL building.
ISIS raids kill 40 Syrian troops in central Syria: activists [Daily Star - 27/6/15]
Kurdish forces have recaptured Syria's Kobane from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, activists and a monitoring group say. ... [Al Jazeera - 27/6/15]
Ansarullah fighters target Saudi military bases in Jizan [Press TV – 27/6/15]:
Yemen’s Ansarullah fighters have launched retaliatory mortar attacks on multiple military bases in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan region on the southern border.
The Yemeni troops backed by allied army units attacked two bases in the southwestern Saudi region late on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, army forces and Houthi fighters carried out a similar attack on the Khabbash military camp in the southern Saudi province of Najran.
According to reports, a Saudi colonel and three other troops were killed in the attack.
Yemeni forces launch such attacks in retaliation for Saudi Arabia’s merciless airstrikes, which it has been carrying out since March 26.
During the latest series of Saudi bombings, warplanes carried out raids in the southern Aden province, and on a military base in Yemen’s southwestern province of Lahij.
Saudi jets also targeted several regions in the central Ma’rib province and the southwestern Ta’izz province.
Saudi Arabia carries out its attacks without a UN mandate, in an attempt to weaken the Ansarullah movement and restore the fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, to power.
The number of government troops deployed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine has reached 60,000 troops, according to President Petro Poroshenko. The statement comes as the total of Ukrainian refugees has exceeded 900,000 people, according to UN. ... [RT - 27/6/15]
Five civilians and three soldiers killed in DR Congo rebel raid [Daily Star - 27/6/15]
Gunmen attacked a military camp in western Mali on Saturday, killing three soldiers as residents of a nearby village hid in their homes, officials and witnesses said.
The attack began at around 5 a.m. (0500 GMT) at the camp near the village of Nara, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the border with Mauritania, army spokesman Col. Souleymane Maiga said. ... [US News - 27/6/15]
Israeli forces shot and injured a 14-year-old Palestinian boy with live ammunition on Saturday when they opened fire on a march in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya. ... [Maan - 27/6/15]
ABC News radio reports this morning [28/6/15] that an Alice Springs man "had to be tasered" after several police could not subdue him, and that a group of people threw rocks at police afterwards.
... Three of the youths, aged 7, 8 and 9 made admissions to throwing rocks and breaking the windows at a residence in Wearing Crescent while the fourth youth, aged 13, denied any knowledge of the incident. The youths were conveyed to their places of residence and spoken to in the company of their carers. ... [NT Police Media - 26/6/15]
Police have opened an investigation into the killing of an unarmed black man by law enforcement officers outside Baltimore, authorities said on Saturday, two months after the city was rocked by protests over the death of another African-American who was taken into custody.
The latest incident unfolded in the Baltimore suburb of Owing Mills, where three officers fired at least 19 rounds and killed Spencer Lee McCain, 41, during a domestic disturbance on Thursday.
The Baltimore County police's homicide unit is investigating, police said in a statement Saturday. ... [Yahoo - 27/6/15]
Afghanistan: Landmine explosion claimed two lives in Laghman [Khaama - 27/6/15]
Bomb blasts in Iraqi capital leave 10 dead, others wounded [Daily Star 27/6/15]
The Confederate flag was removed from a pole on the South Carolina capitol grounds early Saturday morning by activists, but state employees returned the flag to its position within several hours of the incident. ... [The State - 27/6/15]
Nauru court defers
opposition MP's passport appeal
Nauru's Supreme Court has deferred an opposition MP's appeal to get his passport back for another two weeks.
Roland Kun's passport was cancelled by the government after protests last week, preventing him from returning to New Zealand where he has been living since his suspension from parliament a year ago.
He says the Justice Minister, David Adeang, wrote to him explaining the cancellation was because he was deemed to be a security risk to the nation.
Mr Kun denies this and has applied for a judicial review of the government's decision.
But the court this morning deferred hearing the application until July the eighth, which Mr Kun says leaves him in limbo on the island for another two weeks.
"I cannot travel and I continue to have to live away from my family and this is putting great strain on my family and our living arrangement is becoming very difficult."
... 7:30 didn’t actually air the allegations Adeang claims it did. The program did, however, point out the following facts: when the Justice Minister’s wife burned to death on her own front lawn no evidence was collected from the scene, and the police said they were too scared of Adeang to investigate.
Oh, and the nation’s coroner was kicked off the island by Adeang before he could investigate. ... [New Matilda - 27/6/15]
Waltz into Winton
North West Star [25/6/15]:
Families across Australia are being implored to make the trip to Winton for a true outback experience at the Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival, starting tonight.
The festival, held at one of only two remaining open-air cinemas in the country, will include a special charity screening to kick-start the fund-raising for the rebuilding of the town’s historic Waltzing Matilda Centre, which was destroyed by fire last week.
Tonight’s opening will feature the Queensland premiere of Last Cab to Darwin along with the film’s leading man, Michael Caton, who will be joined by festival patron, Roy Billing, actor Mark Coles Smith and Underbelly and House Husband’s star Gyton Grantley.
“We’re looking forward to a great event and it’s with great pleasure we announce an alternate venue for our daytime screenings as the Winton Shire Town Hall,” festival director Mark Melrose said.
“Of course our evening screenings will remain as per the program, under the stars in the open air Royal Theatre.”
“We can’t thank the people of Winton enough for the support they have shown and will hold a special charity screening in the Winton Shire Town Hall during the festival to start raising funds for the Waltzing Matilda Centre.”
The festival’s artistic director Greg Dolgopolov said the success of last year’s inaugural event prompted organisers to think outside the square for 2015.
“We have a combination of absolutely brand new Australian films that engage with the theme of the outback, forgotten classics, charming children’s and family entertainment, a night of horror and a Mad Max movie marathon featuring the just released, Mad Max Fury Road,” he said.
Winton Mayor Butch Lenton said the festival was a significant economy booster for the town.
“The festival is not only culturally significant for this region, but a crucial element for the economic survival of Winton and outback Queensland,” he said.
Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter is also looking forward to visiting Winton for the festival.
“If people want to help (after the fire at Waltzing Matilda Centre), the best way is to come and visit to help the local economy recover and see the town,” he said.
“Winton still has a huge amount to offer to Queensland with attractions like the Age of Dinosaurs, Winton’s Diamantina Heritage Truck and Machinery Museum and the newly-renovated Lark Quarry which will re-open shortly.”
The festival runs until July 4. For more information, go to: visionsplendidfilmfest.com
Arson charge, Veradilla
QPS Media [27/6/15]:
A woman has been charged after a house was destroyed in Veradilla last night.
Police and emergency services were called the to the Grantham Scrub Road home at around midnight last night to find the house fully engulfed in flames.
The fire was extinguished a short time later.
A 42-year-old woman was located at the scene and charged with one count of Arson. She is due to appear in the Gatton Magistrates Court on July 17.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Man injured in crane collapse, Karratha
West Australian [27/6/15]:
A man has been injured after a crane collapsed on a Karratha building site.
The incident occurred earlier this afternoon at The Quarter, forcing police to shut the Sharpe Avenue and Karratha Terrace intersection.
A 30-year-old man was taken to Nickol Bay Hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Police and firefighters remained on the scene this afternoon.
The family of well-known Perth businessman Ross McGinn said yesterday that he “touched the lives of thousands” as they reeled from his sudden decision to take his own life last weekend. ... [West Australian - 27/6/15]
High speed police pursuit ends in crash and charges
WA Today [27/6/15]:
A high-speed chase ended in a crash in Westminster on Friday night.
Police say they tried to stop a Hyundai Excel near the intersection of Beach Road and Redcliffe Avenue in Girrawheen around 11.30pm, but the car raced away.
It reached speeds of around 120km/h in a 50km/h zone before the driver lost control on Arkana Road in Westminster, crashing through a letterbox and fence and coming to a stop against a tree.
The driver then tried to run away but was caught by police.
The 34-year-old has been charged with reckless driving, drink driving, failing to stop, and assaulting a public officer.
ACT police investigate Wanniassa shooting
Canberra Times [27/6/15]:
A 31-year-old man was arrested after a shooting in Wanniassa which left another man with a gunshot wound to his leg on Friday night.
ACT Policing were called to a house by residents who reported hearing the sound of a single gunshot.
The wounded man underwent treatment in Canberra Hospital and his injuries were not considered life threatening, police said in a statement.
"Detectives from Criminal Investigations are conducting enquiries into the incident [and] AFP forensics will conduct an examination," it read.
Police said the arrested man was assisting them with their enquiries.
Witnesses or anyone with information about the shooting who have not yet spoken to police are urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via at act.crimestoppers.com.au. Information can be provided anonymously.
Woman under police guard after dead baby handed in at regional Victorian hospital
A 30-year-old woman is under police guard in hospital after the body of a newborn baby was handed in to authorities in Victoria's east on Friday.
Victoria Police said they believed the newborn's body was found at a property in Paynesville, before a man handed it in at the Bairnsdale Hospital about 7:30pm.
The homicide squad is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death and the aftermath.
Police have not released any more information about the discovery.
Detectives have made a public appeal for information.
The Paynesville woman is under police guard at the Bairnsdale Hospital in relation to the incident, Victoria Police said.
Suspicious house fire, Babinda
QPS Media [27/6/15]:
Detectives are investigating a suspicious house fire in Babinda during the early hours of this morning.
Just before 1am police and emergency services responded to reports of a house on fire on Boulders Road.
The premises was vacant at the time and no one was injured.
A crime scene has been established as police investigate.
Anyone with information which could assist with this matter should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Suspicious house fire, Ipswich
QPS Media [27/6/15]:
Detectives are investigating a suspicious house fire in Ipswich this morning.
Just after 2am police and emergency services attended a residence in Keogh Street, West Ipswich after reports of a house fire.
The fire was extinguished and the house received some structural damage as result of the fire. The house was vacant at the time of the fire.
A crime scene has been declared and police and fire services are investigating the cause.
Fatal traffic crash, Cedar Creek
QPS Media [27/6/15]:
Police are investigating a fatal traffic crash that occurred yesterday afternoon at Cedar Creek.
Preliminary information suggests at around 4.40pm, a motorcycle travelling south along Vievers Road has collided with a car travelling north.
The motorcycle then impacted with another vehicle also travelling north.
Police and emergency services attended the crash and the motorcyclist, a 28-year-old man, was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The Forensic Crash Unit is currently investigating.
Serious traffic crash, Carina Heights
QPS Media [27/6/15]:
Police are investigating a traffic crash that occurred at Carina Heights last night.
At about 11.40pm, a car travelling west on Gallipoli Road has left the roadway and crashed into an electrical transformer.
The driver and sole occupant, a 37-year-old woman, received a serious chest injury and was transported to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Investigations into the crash are continuing.
Woman punched in roadside attack, Inala
Nine MSN [27/6/15]:
A woman has had her bag stolen in a random roadside attack in southeast Queensland.
Police say the 30-year-old was sitting at an intersection in Inala, in Brisbane's southwest, on Saturday morning when she was punched and had her bag stolen by a man and a woman who got out of a black four-wheel drive.
Police are searching for the attackers.
Appeal for witnesses, Helensvale road incident
QPS Media [26/6/15]:
Police are appealing for witnesses of a road incident that occurred at Helensvale yesterday afternoon.
Preliminary information indicates that around 1.35pm a man driving erratically on Discovery Drive, Helensvale got out of his car, armed with a hammer and threatened motorists.
He was driving a bright orange vehicle similar to a Nissan Skyline.
Police would like to talk to anyone who may have witnessed the armed male or the orange vehicle in the lead up to the incident.
Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
Serious assault police, Gatton
QPS Media [27/6/15]:
A 37-year-old Gatton man has been charged with several offences following a disturbance in Gatton late last night.
Police will allege they attended a hotel in Railway Street around midnight in relation to an unrelated matter. While at the hotel they will allege they observed the man having his entry to the hotel refused and that they assisted the man after he fell over.
The man has then allegedly resented directions police officers were giving him and he alleged pushed a female officer on two occasions.
It is further alleged the man has then punched a 32-year-old female officer in the face. The man was restrained and arrested by police.
The officer was transported to Saint Vincent’s Hospital and received treatment for a facial fracture.
The man was charged with one count of serious assault police causing bodily harm and three counts of assault police while adversely affected by intoxicating substance.
He is due to appear in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court today.
Dozens of youths were detained as police moved to shut down a “wild party” in Ballajura overnight. .. [West Australian – 27/6/15]
Proposed citizenship revocation laws must abide with the Constitution and rule of law
Law Council of Australia Media Release [18/6/15]:
The Law Council of Australia has expressed concern over current proposals for a minister to have a complete discretion to remove citizenship from a person suspected of terrorist activity. This is contemplated to be the case without there first being a conviction or judicial review to challenge the basis of a decision, contrary to the Constitution and rule of law.
“It is the primary responsibility of the Parliament to protect Australians from those who seek to do us harm, but protective measures that interfere with fundamental individual rights need to be necessary and proportionate. They must comply with the Constitution and the rule of law.
“Any new laws aimed at revoking citizenship for individuals engaged in terrorism or suspending citizenship rights must be consistent with the rule of law and the separation of powers in the Australian Constitution,” Law Council President Mr Duncan McConnel said.
“Australia’s Constitution requires a clear separation between the independent judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature. The separation of powers means that a Minister cannot exercise a judicial role to decide criminal guilt,” Mr McConnel said.
‘A critical aspect of the rule of law means no one is above the law and that no one should be subject to punishment by the state unless he or she has first been found guilty of a criminal offence by an independent, impartial and competent court or tribunal.
‘While we do not yet know what the legislation will say, when it is presented, it must contain these fundamental safeguards,” Mr McConnel concluded.
The Law Council’s Rule of Law Principles are available here.
Japan, US can reach agreement on “free trade” tyranny at July meeting: official [Japan Today – 27/6/15]
Singapore, Australia to ink "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership"
Channel News Asia [27/6/15]:
Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott will make his first official visit to Singapore from Jun 28 to 29, and will sign the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) when here, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Saturday.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will sign the CSP with Mr Abbott, while an official welcome ceremony will be held for his Australian counterpart on Jun 29.
The Australian Prime Minister will also call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam during his visit, the MFA said.
Project 2025 is a CSP that will see new levels of integration between the two countries across four sectors: Economic, foreign affairs, defence and security, and people-to-people fields.
Besides signing the CSP, Mr Abbott will visit the Singapore Botanical Gardens, where an orchid hybrid will be named in honour of the relationship between both countries, as well as deliver the 35th Singapore Lecture on "Our Common Challenges: Strengthening Security in the Region”.
Mr Abbott will be accompanied by Premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett, Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Adam Giles, and officials from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
He will also be bringing with him a business delegation.
"Prime Minister Abbott’s visit underscores the deep and longstanding ties between the two countries as Singapore and Australia commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. There is close cooperation across many fields, including defence, trade and economics, and at the people-to-people level," the MFA said.
... In 1965, when Singapore declared its independence, its first prime-minister (and, for many years, its virtual dictator) Lee Kuan Yew asked Israel to design, set up, and supervise its military machine. Israel did precisely that. How successfully? Just this month, the Bonn International Center for Conversion published a world-wide survey ranking Israel the world's most militarized nation -- and Singapore the second-most. ... [Huffington Post - 17/11/12]
Australia’s treatment of refugees damages its relationship with the UN
Human Rights Law Centre Media Release [27/6/15]:
Australia is using ever more radical measures to prevent people from seeking its protection and demonstrating increasing contempt towards the United Nations human rights system, the Human Rights Law Centre told the UN Human Rights Council this week.
“Especially when it comes to refugee issues, Australia has shown increasing hostility and disregard for the scrutiny of UN experts who highlight where Australia’s treatment of refugees violates human rights,” said the HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, who delivered the statement in Geneva.
The HRLC highlighted the increasingly dangerous and unlawful measures that Australia uses to intercept and return people seeking protection, including reports that Australia paid USD$30,000 to people smugglers to return asylum seekers [repel refugees] on board their vessel to Indonesia.
[52 are registered as refugees]
[Read the letter sent to the New Zealand Government by the refugees via RNZI - 7/6/15]
“We are in the midst of a global refugee crisis. Wealthy, developed and fundamentally decent nations like Australia need to step up to the plate and share responsibility for refugee protection, not breach international law in order to shift responsibility elsewhere,” said Ms Howie.
Australia is a candidate for membership of the Human Rights Council, the UN’s peak human rights body, for the term 2018-2020. If Australia is elected as a member of the Council it will be expected to uphold the highest standards of human rights and to fully cooperate with UN human rights bodies.
“Statements such as those made by the Prime Minister that Australia is “sick of being lectured” by the UN fall well below the standards expected of Council members”, said Ms Howie.
“They also show flagrant disregard for the international human rights standards to which Australia agreed to be bound when it ratified the human rights treaties.”
The statements are available here: http://hrlc.org.au/hrlc-statements-to-the-29th-session-of-the-human-rights-council/
Kevin Rudd's vile band of people smugglers [Project Safecom Inc.]
Legal challenge to Australia's offshore detention of asylum seekers goes ahead [Guardian – 27/6/15]:
... But the second limb of the challenge – that the constitution does not give the government the power to detain people offshore – is ongoing and unaffected by Thursday’s legislative changes.
Lawyer for the plaintiffs, Ron Merkel, told the directions hearing that there is a “constitutional limitation on the Commonwealth’s lack of power to detain”.
The constitution gives the Commonwealth the power to detain people onshore who have broken the law, or deport them to their home countries, but does not specify that non-citizens can be removed and detained offshore.
Daniel Webb from the Human Rights Law Centre, which is involved in the case, told Guardian Australia that “serious questions remain about whether it has valid legal authority to procure detention in the territories of other nations”.
“It can detain people in Australia. It can remove people from Australia. But the indefinite detention of innocent men, women and children in third countries is another matter altogether,” Webb said.
Doctor speaks out on Australia law over Nauru [RNZI – 26/6/15]:
A Sydney paediatrician has spoken up about a new law in Australia banning people from speaking out about what they see on Nauru.
David Isaacs worked in Australia's offshore detention centre on Nauru last December, where he saw a six-year-old who had tried to hang herself and a 15-year-old who had sewn up his lips.
The Australian Government has just passed a new law preventing anyone working at a detention centre speaking publicly about what they see.
Dr Isaacs said he saw 30 children in consultation while working in the detention centre last December, all of whom had been detained for more than a year.
He said the children showed signs of the horrific treatment they were subjected to in the centre.
"The six-year-old child who had strangulation marks around her neck from trying to hang herself with a fence tie, the 15-year-old boy who sewed his lips up because that's the only way he could protest without getting angry and getting his parents and himself into trouble, so this desperate sort of way of doing things."
The new law takes effect on 1 July.
As we can clearly see, it is flagrant economic self-interest that explains the motive behind the efforts to burnish Myanmar's democratic credentials while simultaneously ignoring the obvious and horrific state-sanctioned discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims.
Harun Yahya [The Malaysian Insider - 26/6/15]:
Last month, the plight of the Rohingya Muslims came into the focus of the world media with the heart-wrenching images of them being stranded at sea.
Following these harrowing scenes, many people across the world came to know the details of the humanitarian crisis they have been through: their villages have been torched, hundreds of thousands of them were forced from their homes and crammed into concentration camps while some others were forced into slavery. Ultimately, these dire circumstances left this minority group no better option than getting on leaky boats and fleeing for better shores.
Now the international community is savvy about this outrage that offended every reasonable conscience by means of international press coverage and social media. While desperate men, women and innocent children are being caged in their own country, deprived of any essential needs, stranded at sea or held for ransom in a nearby jungle, this worldwide awareness will surely bring some prospects of a better future for the Rohingya people.
However, being aware of the problem in no way contributes to tackling their plight or the mass migration it entails. Efforts to resolve the issue must be profound and permanent, and they must address the root causes rather than simply providing interim relief.
Looked at from this perspective, the odds of any resolution seems very dim. Why?
The main party responsible for this atrocity is the government of Myanmar. Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur for Burma, says that human rights abuses committed by Myanmar's security forces against the Rohingya are widespread and systematic. And with a recent official declaration, the government of Myanmar stated quite bluntly that it has no intention of softening its stance against the Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority.
This was a clear message that the government would not curb its grotesque human rights violations, and that message echoed loud and clear in the international media.
Despite having lived in Myanmar for many generations, the Myanmar government does not acknowledge Rohingya Muslims as Burmese and denies them the rights of citizenship. They are confined to specific areas where they can live and work under inhumane conditions. Even humanitarian assistance by international aid groups to these ghettoised people is forbidden by the state authorities in Myanmar.
Despite this policy adopted by Myanmar, some Western states and the Asean countries have made great efforts to promote Myanmar, which was until quite recently a military dictatorship, as a rising star of democracy.
However, during the peak of violence against the Rohingya, Human Rights Watch brought evidence of their pronounced affliction: “The October attacks were against Rohingya and Kaman Muslim communities and were organised, incited, and committed by local Arakanese political party operatives, the Buddhist monkhood and ordinary Arakanese, at times directly supported by state security forces.
“Rohingya men, women and children were killed, some were buried in mass graves, and their villages and neighbourhoods were razed.”
It is not possible to forget the instances of recurrent assault and genocide committed to eliminate the entire Muslim population living in the country.
Then how can the so-called forerunners of democracy be deaf and dumb to this apparent extermination, which is actually deteriorating all pillars of human rights?
The reason for such gilded grandstanding of democracy is not hard to imagine: economic interests. Many countries, among them China, the Asean countries and the United States being among the foremost, are most eager to reap the rewards of Asia’s largest – and the last, except for North Korea – untapped market.
Those governments and corporations seeking economic benefits, especially the manufacturing industries, consider Myanmar a new playing field for access to low-cost labor.
As we can clearly see, it is flagrant economic self-interest that explains the motive behind the efforts to burnish Myanmar's democratic credentials while simultaneously ignoring the obvious and horrific state-sanctioned discrimination against the Rohingya Muslims.
First off, the international community must make its presence more keenly felt on the government of Myanmar. Through economic sanctions focused on Myanmar’s newly-flourishing and key industries, the Myanmar government can be compelled to soften its discriminatory policies against its own minority and persuaded to stop brutalising them.
The US and the European countries play this trump card when it comes to a country like Russia, so the fact that it is not played against Burma clearly reveals the course of action taken by the interest-ridden Western countries and multinational corporations.
While providing humanitarian aid to the Rohingya Muslims is a must, we must be aware that such actions can only be a source of temporary relief.
The ultimate goal must be to eliminate the root cause of the problem and provide a durable solution to give the Rohingya Muslims the quality of life that every human being deserves in this world.
Harun Yahya has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com.
Indonesia, IOM to deport 300 Myanmarese fishermen [ANTARA – 25/6/15]
Australian Embassy in Myanmar [26/6/15]:
The Australian Embassy Myanmar is currently seeking qualified candidates for the following vacant position:- 1. Senior Policy Officer
Please visit below link to view Selection Criteria and Position Descriptions and to download Application Form.
Please note Australian Citizenship is a requirement of this position.
Australian politicians, human rights establishment launch "I'm not racist but" book:
... The book was officially launched by former Liberal federal minister the Hon Fred Chaney AO at an event in Sydney on Thursday 11 June. Mr Chaney played an important role in the passage of the Racial Discrimination Bill through Parliament forty years ago. ...
The Power Index: biz directors, Michael Chaney at #3 [Crikey - 12/12/12]: ... But it’s not just boardroom influence — ideas have always coursed through the Chaney household. He’s the son of Menzies government minister Sir Fred Chaney and the brother of former Liberal Party deputy leader Fred Chaney Jr (a WA senator and member for the federal seat of Pearce). Another brother, John, is a WA Supreme Court Judge. ...
Address by Chairman Michael Chaney and CEO and Managing Director Peter Coleman Woodside Petroleum Ltd. 2015 Annual General Meeting [16/4/15]:
... In Myanmar, we’re now the leading acreage holder in the underexplored Rakhine Basin. We’ve consolidated and built a strong position across the Atlantic margin play, with acreage in Nova Scotia, Ireland and Morocco. ...
Half a million in need of critical aid in Myanmar [UN Media Release – 12/6/15]
Indonesia to lodge protest against Ambalat violation with complete data [ANTARA - 23/6/15]:
The Indonesian foreign ministry will soon lodge a protest with Malaysia against an alleged border violation in Ambalat area, after it receives complete data and report from the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) headquarters.
"For every incident of violation, if we have the complete data regarding its geographical coordinates, etc., we will surely follow up with a note of protest," Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi stated at the presidential palace complex, here, Tuesday.
The foreign minister has requested detailed data from TNI Commander General Moeldoko regarding the geographical coordinates where the border violation occurred.
In connection with the allegations that Australia had bribed crew members of a vessel carrying asylum seekers, Minister Retno said she had read a letter regarding the matter from her Australian counterpart.
The minister remarked that the letter did not directly explain nor did it respond to questions posed by the Indonesian government.
Based on the investigation conducted by Rote Police, certain boat skippers and crew members had confessed to having received money from Australia.
"So we speak based on the results of these investigations," she affirmed.
Australia and Indonesia at odds at sea [East Asia Forum – 26/6/15]
UNHCR notes EU decision, calls for more focus on causes of mass displacement
UNHCR Media Release [26/6/15]:
The UN refugee agency has followed the agreement of European Union leaders to relocate 40,000 people in need of international protection and to resettle 20,000 refugees with a call for much more to be done to end the global crisis forcing record numbers of people to flee their homes.
"This is an important step along the way to finding answers to this crisis, but clearly much more will have to be done, including addressing root causes," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva on Friday.
"It is essential that states work together to find answers, and that Europe shows leadership and vision in addressing the challenges of protecting the thousands of refugees," he added.
At late-night talks in Brussels on Thursday, EU leaders agreed to relocate 40,000 people in dire need of international protection who have arrived in Greece and Italy to other EU states over the next two years.
UNHCR says the participation of all Member States will be the key to the success of the initiative and reiterated its readiness to collaborate with EU member states and institutions on these and other measures in support of those needing international protection.
"These measures will need to be expanded to address current needs, and the fact that an increased proportion of sea arrivals are now taking place in Greece. This initiative can help to alleviate some pressure on Italy and Greece, but also needs to be accompanied by a better functioning of the Dublin system," Edwards added.
The Dublin System aims to determine rapidly the Member State responsible [for an asylum claim] and provides for the transfer of an asylum seeker to that Member State. Usually, the responsible Member State will be the state through which the asylum seeker first entered the EU.
On the specific proposal for EU-wide resettlement of 20,000 refugees, UNHCR urged EU states to make concrete commitments towards the goal beyond existing resettlement quotas.
"We are also calling on Member States to offer other legal avenues for people in need of international protection – including a more effective, timely and consistent application of family reunification procedures, as put forward in the Commission's European Agenda on Migration," Edwards said.
He added that providing realistic and substantial alternative channels for people to reach safety would also be a way to support international efforts to combat smuggling and trafficking.
UNHCR maintains it has long recognised the importance of return programmes for people not in need of international protection to preserve the integrity of asylum systems and, in this regard, notes that such policies should be implemented in line with fundamental rights and the principle of non-refoulement (forced returns).
"Through more targeted assistance, including development initiatives, the resilience and self-reliance of refugees and internally displaced populations could be strengthened, allowing them to live their lives with hope and dignity," Edwards added.
In addition the agency has stressed that major humanitarian operations, such as Syria and Central African Republic, are seriously underfunded.
UNHCR's Global Trends Report: World at War, issued at the end of May, showed worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded.
The report said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 as a result of war, conflict and persecution had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.
Tsipras announces referendum on EU, IMF predators' proposals
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced early on Saturday that his government intends to hold a referendum on whether Greece should accept the proposals put forward by lenders.
Tsipras made it clear that he is against accepting the terms offered by creditors but said that he would accept the outcome of any vote.
The prime minister said he would go to Parliament on Saturday to get approval from MPs to hold the referendum on Sunday, July 5.
... Fellow Greeks, to the blackmailing of the ultimatum that asks us to accept a severe and degrading austerity without end and without any prospect for a social and economic recovery, I ask you to respond in a sovereign and proud way, as the history of the Greek people commands.
To authoritarianism and harsh austerity, we will respond with democracy, calmly and decisively.
Greece, the birthplace of democracy will send a resounding democratic response to Europe and the world. I am personally committed to respect the outcome of your democratic choice, whatever that is.
And I’m absolutely confident that your choice will honor the history of our country and send a message of dignity to the world. ... [An End To The Blackmail - Alexis Tsipras - Jacobin - 27/6/15]
Barroso urged Samaras and Venizelos to block Papandreou's referendum, reports FT [ekathimerini.com - 12/5/14]
Greek republic referendum, 1974:
A referendum on retaining the republic was held in Greece on 8 December 1974. After the collapse of the military junta that ruled the country from 1967, the issue of the form of government remained unsolved. The Junta had already staged a plebiscite held on 29 July 1973, which resulted in the establishment of the Republic. However, after the fall of the military regime, the new government, under Constantine Karamanlis, decided to hold another one, as Junta legal acts were considered illegal. Constantine II, the former King, was banned by the new government from returning to Greece to campaign in the referendum, but the Karamanlis government allowed him to make a televised address to the nation. The proposal was approved by 69.2% of voters with a turnout of 75.6%. ...
Vatican signs first treaty with the State of Palestine
The Vatican has signed its first treaty with the "State of Palestine" and called for a two-state solution, in a move that drew immediate anger from the Israeli government.
The treaty was agreed in principle last month and covers the activities of the Catholic church in Palestine.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister, said at the signing that he hoped it could be a "stimulus to bringing a definitive end to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continues to cause suffering for both parties".
He called for the resumption of negotiations with the aim of a two-state solution.
"This certainly requires courageous decisions, but it will also offer a major contribution to peace and stability in the region," he said.
Riad Al-Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said he hoped the accord would help "recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom and dignity in an independent state of their own, free from the shackles of occupation".
But the Israeli foreign ministry expressed its “regret” at the move.
“This hasty step damages the prospects for advancing a peace agreement, and harms the international effort to convince the PA to return to direct negotiations with Israel,” the ministry said in a statement.
Israel also condemned the “one-sided texts in the agreement which ignore the historic rights of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and to the places holy to Judaism in Jerusalem”
The Vatican’s previous agreement had been with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), signed in 2000.
The new treaty represents the Holy See’s upgrade in the status of Palestine to a state, which it recognised in 2013. However, Israel argues that according to the Oslo Accords, only the PLO, not any state of Palestine, has the capacity to sign treaties.
In November 2012, Palestine officially gained the status of a ‘non-member state’ at the UN General Assembly - something that the Vatican- also a ‘non-member state’ - supported.
Pope Frances referred to the state of Palestine on numerous occasions during his visit to the holy land in 2014.
The Vatican has maintained diplomatic relations with Israel since 1993, but has yet to conclude an accord on the Church's rights there, which has been under discussion since 1999, a report by AFP noted.
Marikana killings: Inquiry blames police for deaths of 34 striking workers at South African platinum mine [Independent – 25/6/15]
Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) subsidiary Rustenburg Platinum Mines (RPM) is set to layoff up to 420 managerial and supervisory jobs as it proposes to consolidate mining operations over weak market conditions.
The company has issued a Section 189 (3) notice to relevant parties in terms of Section 189A of the Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 to begin a consultation process on the proposed redesign plan. … [Mining Technology – 24/6/15]
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States of America Barack Obama [Kremlin – 26/6//15]
Challenge to US warrantless surveillance on tap after guilty plea [Reuters - 26/6/15]:
A U.S. appeals court in New York is expected to consider a rare challenge to the government's controversial warrantless wiretapping program, after an Albanian man on Friday pleaded guilty in Brooklyn to U.S. terrorism charges of aiding a Pakistani militant group.
Key evidence against Agron Hasbajrami, 31, was obtained through the surveillance program, which was authorized under a 2008 law that allows U.S. agencies to sweep up communications between Americans and foreign citizens abroad who are intelligence targets.
Lawyers for Hasbajrami, who is a U.S. permanent resident, and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have argued the government should be required to obtain warrants to examine any communications it collects from Americans.
His plea deal specifically allows him to make that case to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a process that could take months.
If he wins on appeal, his conviction would be overturned.
On International Day, UN chief urges concrete support for victims of torture [Media Release - 26/6/15]
"The torture photographs from Abu Ghraib precisely enshrine objectification and heteronomous thought: the idea that certain people by virtue of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual preference may be denied rights to basic freedoms of action, association and thought (or even to life itself), and that the greatest ethical imperative is to follow orders." Professor Stephen Eisenman [The Abu Ghraib Effect, 2007]
Afghanistan: UN official expresses deep concern after report reveals children bear brunt of conflict [Media Release - 26/6/15]
... The UN refugee chief noted the future of some 2.6 million Afghan refugees in the region, many of whom have been living outside their country for over three decades, still hung in the balance while fresh emergencies in the Middle East and Africa competed for global attention.
Praising Pakistan's goodwill and hospitality as a host nation, Guterres noted that "the unwavering generosity of Pakistani people towards Afghan refugees has contributed to regional stability but also more broadly to the global refugee cause at a time when we witness increased asylum fatigue worldwide." ... [Media Release - 25/6/15]
Increasing numbers of people are fleeing Burundi ahead of parliamentary elections next Monday which have already triggered weeks of violence and seen thousands seeking refuge across the central African state's borders, the UN refugee agency said on Friday. ... [Media Release - 26/6/15]
... but to some, another fun day in Babylon ...
'Bombs', Faithless 
'Love is love': Obama lauds gay marriage activists in hailing 'a victory for America' [Guardian – 27/6/15]
Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept - 26/6/15]:
... As the great LGBT activist Michelangelo Signorile warns in his new book, It’s Not Over, the advent of gay marriage no more means an end to harmful anti-gay bigotry than the end of Jim Crow laws (or the election of a black president) ended racism. Particularly for poorer LGBT citizens, ones who live outside of coastal cities, and transsexuals, discrimination remains potent (which is why the image of establishment, Democrat-loyal LGBT leaders jeering a Latina immigrant trans activist this week for interrupting President Obama, for whom they obsequiously swooned, was simultaneously so ugly and revealing). ...
United States, "allies" continue bombing Iraq and Syria [Yahoo - 26/6/15]:
The United States and its allies staged 28 air strikes targeting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq on Thursday, including 10 near the Syrian border town of Kobani, the U.S. military said.
The strikes near Kobani along the border with Turkey hit eight units of Islamic State fighters as well as several vehicles, fighting positions and staging areas used by the militant group, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Friday.
Earlier on Friday, a monitoring group said Islamic State fighters killed at least 145 civilians in Kobani in an attack it called the second biggest massacre by the hard-line group.
Other strikes in Syria hit near Tel Abyad, Raqqa and Dayr az Zawr. The 14 strikes in Iraq targeted Islamic State in 10 cities, including Mosul, Sinjar, and Tel Afar, among others.
Funding shortage leaves Syrian refugees in danger of missing vital support [UNHCR Media Release – 25/6/15]
President Obama on Friday eulogized Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the state senator and pastor who was shot and killed last week in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston along with eight other black parishioners. The president delivered a powerful speech that addressed race and racial bias repeatedly during winding remarks that touched on everything from voting rights to gun violence to the criminal justice system. The common thread, though, was grace. After quoting from "Amazing Grace" earlier in the speech, Obama finally broke into song at the end. The congregation quickly joined in.
He then finished with a nod to each of the nine victims.
"Clementa Pinckney has found that grace," the president said. "Cynthia Hurd has
found that grace. Susie Jackson has found that grace. Ethel Lance has found that
grace. DePayne Middleton-Doctor has found that grace. Tywanza Sanders has found
that grace. Daniel Simmons has found that grace. Sharonda Singleton has found
that grace. Myra Thompson has found that grace." And finally: "May God continue
to shed his grace on the United States of America." [VIDEO -
Slate - 26/6/15]
French attack suspect had 'link' to Salafist movement [Yahoo - 26/6/15]
WikiLeaks: Saudi Embassy in Tehran Adopted Plan to Support Salafist
Channels to Face Iranian Media [Bahrain
Mirror - 26/6/15]
A cable issued by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Tehran revealed that the embassy adopted a plan to support religious Salafist channels and direct media outlets "to focus on Iran's interference in the affairs of Arab countries, like Bahrain, in their newscasts."
The cable described this move as part of a plan "to expose the Iranian media".
The cable published by the WikiLeaks website this week further stated that "a certain media approach against the Iranian media that falsely accuses the kingdom cannot be established unless there is a joint Arab or at least Gulf approach."
"It's necessary to focus on exposing the Iranian media, by making use of the religious channels, especially the Salafist ones, and supporting them as well as directing the preachers towards Iran in order to transfer their messages into Iran, on the ground and through the media," the cable further read.
It also highlighted that "the news outlets should shed light on Iran's interference in the affairs of Arab states like Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq."
The Saudi cable also stressed on the importance of "not just relying on the Saudi media, but seeking to acquire more channels and writers that are experts in the Iranian affairs," in addition to "establishing persian-speaking analytical and news channels aimed at addressing the Iranian people."
27 June 2015